Harney House, Officer’s Row 1859

Buildings near trees
United States military post, Fort Vancouver, Columbia River – General Harney’s house beside flagstaff, May 1859. Northwest Boundary Commission image LC-USZC4-11408, courtesy Library of Congress

In 1859 General William Selby Harney, one of four generals in the Army at the outset of the Civil War, commanded the Department of Columbia and Fort Vancouver. Known as a brutal Indian fighter, Harney directed the barracks during the Yakima Indian Wars of 1855-1858. He then brought the U.S. to the brink of war with Great Britain in 1859, when he placed American troops on San Juan Island in an incident known as the “Pig War.” Harney’s tense term on the West coast ended in 1860, when he was called east, and relieved by Colonel George Wright.